One Love Order at the Border Post-Show Recap
by Matt Bauer
A rough start on Friday notwithstanding, the One Love Order At The Border festival showcased some of the finest acts in reggae, soul, blues and R&B over its three-day run this weekend. The Grove (located behind the Floral Showhouse along the Niagara Parkway) proved an ideal venue and the lovely weather as well as the close proximity of the falls and its attractions ensured a pleasant experience for the attendees.
An accident on the QEW resulted the late arrival of stage equipment and an extended delay for the headlining acts which resulted in some frustration Friday. As a thank you, the promoters allowed the evening’s ticket holders free entry for the following day. Nevertheless, veteran artist Peter Ranking and Prezident Brown dropped some engaging dancehall sounds. Sister Isis who along with Muchmusic icon Master T co-hosted Friday’s program dubbed the crowd “reggae-lutionaries” as Jah Bouks took to the stage like gangbusters. Venerable crooner Johnny Osbourne followed and any ill will on the part of the audience seemed to vaporize when the legendary Freddie McGregor took the stage with a ball pen of back to back showstoppers. It was well worth waiting for.
The stage was set up promptly on Saturday as 4:45 PM. Toronto’s Kulcha Ites served up some fine dancehall but things really got into gear once Britain’s “Demolition Man” arrived. His rapid-fire delivery energized the sparse crowd and Fiya Lion’s high energy presentation heated things up even further. Polished reggae-soul crooner Show Stevens was a favorite of the young ladies in the crowd before The Dazz Band took the stage to show the young’uns how it’s done. “This is how you do it old school,“ proclaimed front man Skip Martin and with matching suits, hats, sunglasses and a groove so tight you could bounce a quarter off of it, the Cleveland legends were the epitome of funky cool.
Bay Area funk legends ConFunkShun delivered an equally scorching, but brief set with horn-driven funk classics like “Chase Me, ” “Shake and Dance With Me,” and the self-explanatory “Ffun. “They were the best you’ve had all day,” shouted out an audience member.
Sunday was a more musically varied day with a brilliant set by eclectic bluesman Corey Harris and a charming solo acoustic appearance by up and comer Emily Raquel before soul man Lenny Williams appeared. Best known as one of the lead singers of Tower of Power and now 69, the charismatic Williams performed T.O.P. standards like “This Time It’s Real,” “So Very Hard To Go” and “You’re Still A Young Man” with such verve, well, he sounded like a young man.
Resplendent in a multi-colored summer dress and in terrific voice, the force of nature that’s Faith Evans was the undisputed highlight of the festival proving without a doubt that she’s one of modern R&B’s finest artists. Rocking favorites like “You Gets No Love,” “Love Like This,” “I Love You” and “Again,” Evans simply brought the house down.
*Pictured Above: Faith Evans at the One Love Order at the Border festival. Photo Courtesy of G 98.7 FM.
Closing the festival at 11:30 PM, The Whispers were anything but anticlimactic, performing their trademark mix of sultry soul and invigorating boogie that had audience members of all ages grooving to classics like “It’s A Love Thing,” “In the Raw,” and “Rock Steady.”
Check out www.cliftonhill.com for all of the information you need to know about the World Famous Street of Fun by the Falls, and all other upcoming events.